I’ve felt so alone in agvocacy

The AgChat Foundation has now held conferences in Chicago, Nashville, Kansas City, Charlotte, NC, Portland, OR, Austin and most recently Spokane, WA. The greatness of these events can be attributed to fabulous keynote speakers such as Bruce Vincent, sessions from basic Twitter to relationship building to conflict management, tours of grocers such as Whole Foods and wheat mills and finally, the ever popular, interactive consumer panels. Above all, it is the networking and attendees which put our conferences in the excellence category. I’d like to share a reflection following the recent 2015 Pacific Northwest Agvocacy conference.

There is no argument about the disconnect between consumers and their food. It clearly exists for AgChat Foundation's 2015  Pacific Northwest Agvocacy Conferenceeveryone. One observation which became evident is that the intensity of the disconnect varies greatly from region to region in the U.S. The pacific northwest is a prime example. There are stringent battle lines which have been drawn, by consumers several generations removed from the farm as well as farmers and ranchers who are fighting for their legacies. Couple those lines with the challenges faced by governmental land management and sharing your story of farming or ranching might look like an up-hill ride.

The issues which exist in the pacific northwest are vast and agriculture is extremely diverse. Bringing growers together allowed for stressors to be shared rather than held up by one person. As we all networked and chatted during the PNW event, there was a similar message that was heard multiple times.

“I’m so glad I connected with you. I’ve felt so alone.”

In that short two-day event, the relationships which were formed are providing inspiration and collaborations. Attendees now have a reachable mentoring group who can relate to the challenges they face in telling their stories of farming and ranching. Witnessing these conversations was a reminder of why the AgChat Foundation exists. It serves as a connecting point for agvocates to share and support one another. To ask for or provide advice. It is also a reminder that even if you haven’t attended an event yet, there are other opportunities to connect with other agvocates. You are not alone. I challenge you to reach out to at least one of these channels this week and share with friends and family who are also agvocating:

We sincerely hope that the event provided the desired conduit to connect all of the attendees who are advocating for agriculture in the pacific northwest and beyond. You are the AgChat Foundation and the resources and network are at your finger tips.

NEW #AgBlog post from Success is Reason Enough | #AgChatPNW

Posted by Blogging for Agriculture on Tuesday, April 28, 2015

~Jenny

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Jenny serves as the AgChat Foundation Executive Director while helping manage her family’s Jenny Schweigert - AgChat.org photo courtesy of Keiser Photography https://www.facebook.com/KeiserPhotographysmall hobby farm and jumping in when possible on her in-laws farm in central Illinois. In addition to AgChat.org, she can be found blogging at TheMagicFarmHouse where she shares about life on their farm while connecting with boy moms, food allergy parents, hunters and more. She loves deer hunting and avoids housekeeping when possible. You can connect with her on Facebook or tweet her on Twitter.

Celebrating National Agriculture Week 2015

National Agriculture Week is a tribute to the hard working folks who bring food, fuel and fiber to our everyday lives. All three elements are essential to the survival of human kind. That is something to celebrate! Wondering how you can celebrate? Here are just a few events or efforts you can find:

  • #FoodChat – moderated by Michele Payn-Knoper, ACF will be hosting our monthly #FoodChat conversation on Twitter celebrating National Agriculture Week, National Nutrition Month and St. Patrick’s day. Join the conversation Tues., March 17th, 8-10pmET.
  • Pay it forward! Become an individual sponsor of the AgChat Foundation! Contributions provided will assist in spreading the word about agriculture advocacy, assist in reducing conference registration fees during 2015 and support farmers and ranchers with resources such as how-to blog posts.
  • #AgProud – Join AgChat Foundation alum, Ryan Goodman as he celebrates National Agriculture Day by encourage you to share why you are Agriculture Proud! Use the hash tag #AgProud and #AgDay2015 on social media networks and connect to those who are using your products.
  • Check out the events around the U.S. which will be celebrating National Agriculture Day on Wed., March 18th

Celebrate National Ag Week! AgChat.org

#RelentlessAsYou Contest!

You work hard, right? Our newest sponsor, Valent. At Valent, they know what you go through on a daily basis and why you can be described as #Relentless. Some farm until 2am, some all night, through the rain and on a rare occasion, snow, with very little reward. As you begin prep for planting in 2015, be sure to consider why you or a neighbor are relents! Then all you need to do is submit it to win $1,000, for your community!!

Valent wants you to share your story with the world. Be sure to held on over to the Relentless As You website, where you may find all the details

March 10th, 2015 – AgChat on Antibiotics

March 10th, 2015 – AgChat on AntibioticsHow Does Ag Work With Antibiotics? There is concern expressed in the press and social media about the issues of super bugs that are evolving because of the use of antibiotics. How is the use of antibiotics in agriculture impacting the genetic changes of bacteria? What are the conversations farms have with consumers about their use of antibiotics on farms? This #AgChat looks into the conversations occurring.
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March 3rd, 2015 – AgChat on Water

March 3rd, 2015 – AgChat on WaterWater Is Life Water is certainly a necessity. And, the variety of ways water is used is vast (example: water in beer making). Water quality and availability is a concern by many, especially when thinking into the future 15 or 20 years out. Within the USA, water use, availability, and quality cause contention amongst many stakeholders and stresses the systems in place for everyone. What does the future of water hold? This #AgChat on Water highlights some of the issues and insights into water in agriculture.

Participating in this chat were Aubrey Bettencourt (@AubBettencourt) with the California Water Alliance (@CAWaterAlliance), and Caroline McKinney with Trimble Agriculture (@Trimble_Ag). They offered insights on their view of water and some of the solutions being taken by people and organizations.

This chat was sponsored by The National Institute for Animal Agriculture (@NIAA_comm) and their Annual Conference March 23-26 in Indianapolis, on the topic of water. Learn more about the #AgWater2015 conference [link] and register to attend [link].

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Powerful Voices Set Tone for ACF’s PNW Agvocacy Conference

In the news…

The AgChat Foundation will host the 2nd Annual Pacific Northwest Regional Agvocacy conference at 2014 Northwest Agvocacy Conference - learn more about the 2015 event at www.AgChat.org/PNWNorthern Quest Resort and Casino in Spokane, WA, April 27-28. Attendees who register before March 20th will receive an early bird discount. The Foundation, known for providing high-quality, agriculture advocacy training to farmers, ranchers, agribusiness professionals, media and educators, will once again deliver a selection of sessions focusing on strengthening online relationships while fostering offline communications with consumers.

The conference will open with motivational keynote speaker, mom and North Dakota agvocate, Katie Pinke. A household name for bridging common ground in even the most difficult conversations, Pinke will share her experiences, purpose, insight and set a tone for understanding on all sides of the kitchen table.

Attendees can expect to learn about tips, strategies and hacks for efficient advocating and utilizing community to share their farm and ranch stories via Instagram and Pinterest. Emphasis will be placed on building communication when interacting with detractors or facing crisis situations. Additionally, they will be provided hands-on training for blogging, Twitter and other social media platforms. The event will offer the experience to network with fellow farmers, ranchers, mentors and advocates while also interacting with a consumer panel.

2014 Northwest Agvocacy Conference - learn more about the 2015 event at www.AgChat.org/PNWThe event will provide the tools which will equip all to advocate for agriculture. Keynote speaker Michele Payn-Knoper, ACF board member and author of ‘No More Food Fights,’ will close by inspiring and infusing the audience with a passion for telling the story of agriculture.

“Farmers and ranchers in the pacific northwest and all across the U.S., have a unique story to tell and we are the only ones who can tell it accurately and authentically. Attending an AgChat Foundation event will provide purpose, tools and a network for successfully communicating with consumers,” says AgChat Foundation Vice-President, Marie Bowers of Harrisburg, OR.

A complete schedule of events is available at AgChat.org/PNW and AgChatPNW.Eventbrite.com

Sponsorship opportunities will be available until mid-March. Inquiries should be sent to Jenny Schweigert, Executive Director by emailing execdir@agchat.org.

Water Conversations

Water ConversationWater Conversation March 3rd is the #AgChat on the topic of #Water. This chat is sponsored by the National Institute for Animal Agriculture (Twitter: @NIAA_Comm ), whose 2015 annual conference is focused on water (conference registration)

Join in, March 3rd, 8-10pm ET with #AgChat on Twitter. Have questions? DM them to @AgChat.


Water continues to be a topic of conversation (for many year certainly). Some recent media happenings include:

  • PBS’ Water story, #EARTHWildPBS [video].
  • Dr. Attari at Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs (@SPEAIUB) shares consumer research on people belief about water usage [audio].
  • Via NASA, First Global Rainfall and Snowfall Map [YouTube].

Go Social in Spokane! Register for ACF’s 2nd Annual Agvocacy Conference

The AgChat Foundation will host the 2nd Annual Pacific Northwest Regional Agvocacy conference in Spokane, WA, April 27-28, 2015. The Foundation, known for providing high-quality, agriculture advocacy training to farmers and ranchers across the globe, will once again deliver a diverse selection of sessions focusing on strengthening online relationships while fostering offline communications with consumers.
Attendees of the 2013 AgChat Foundation conference in Portland, OR, gather outside Portland's urban farm. www.AgChat.org

Since the inception of the Foundation in 2010, the mission has been to provide training to as many U.S. regions as possible. Therefore, no two trainings have been repeated in a region. However, due to positive feedback and requests received following the success of last year’s event, farmers and ranchers from the pacific northwest will again have the opportunity to learn from top agvocacy experts.

In 2014, Datassentials and Bayer CropScience conducted a study which concluded that 94% of American consumers would like to speak with a farmer or rancher. The same study indicated that 36% of the population trusts farmers and ranchers more than scientists, nutritionists, government agencies, companies engaged in farming or agriculture, even social media contacts outside agriculture. As the number of farmers and ranchers sharing their story grows, so will the success connections from field to fork.

“Farmers and ranchers, in the pacific northwest and all across the U.S., have a unique story to tell and we are the only ones who can tell it accurately and authentically,” says AgChat Foundation Vice-President, Marie Bowers of Harrisburg, OR.

Registration will open on Monday, February 9th with a limited-time early bird rate of $89 for farmers and ranchers; agribusiness professionals with have an opportunity to register at a discounted rate of $145.

For information pertaining to sponsorship opportunities, contact Executive Director Jenny Schweigert at execdir@agchat.org.

Registration for National Collegiate Congress Ending Soon

All good things must come to an end and sales for the 2015 National Collegiate Congress is not an exception. From now until tomorrow, Friday, January 2nd at 2pmET, we’ll be extending our two day sale which will provide students the optional day of touring Fair Oaks Farms for free when they register for the day of programming.

Why should students attend?

  • Rockstar cast of speakers such as Laura Daniels, Michele Payn-Knoper, Brooke Haney, 2015 AgChat Foundation Collegiate CongressTaylor Truckey, Mark Gale, Carrie Mess, Leah Beyer, Josh Rusk, and Elizabeth Burns-Thompson.
  • Expansive networking possibilities with fellow agriculture students from all over the United States.
  • Opportunity to meet and visit with sponsors and potential employers Dow AgroSciences, National FFA, National Pork Board, Tyson Foods, Alltech, Farm Credit Services, Charleston|Orwig, Truffle Media and Animal Ag Alliance.
  • Connect with leading experts from your demographic
  • Plenty of social time to network
  • An experience you will never forget!

Main sessions:

  • Agvocating Away from the Farm
  • The State of Agvocacy Addresses (includes reviews of advocacy at the college level and post-graduate opportunities)
  • Balancing Social with Professionalism
  • Beginning Blogging
  • Connecting with Commodity Groups
  • Student Panel including a Culinary Student, Nutrition/Dietary Student, Social Work major and general major.

What are you waiting for? Don’t forget this is our last sale and your last opportunity to save before registration closes.

REGISTER NOW – http://agchat.rocks/indy/

December 16th, 2014 – AgChat FoodChat Combo: Holiday Ag – Holiday Food

Holiday Ag - Holiday FoodHoliday Ag and Food This special combination #AgChat and #FoodChat brought together the holiday conversations of food and reminded us that agriculture never stops on the holiday.
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